About

MEC seeks crop supply contracts with Midwest caterers, chefs, distillers, wineries and brewers (beer and kombucha) for elderflowers and elderberries. MEC is also engaged in discussions with a couple of other beverage and food processors to develop elderberry and/or elderflower ingredients suitable for their product lines, either as a blended ingredient or flavor option. 

History

The Midwest Elderberry Cooperative (MEC) was formed in 2012 to be the vehicle by which small farmers could work together to determine the feasibility of wide scale production of elderberries in the state and region, for subsequent cooperative processing and marketing of value-added juices, wines and concentrates. Summaries of our researched reports and grants received are found on the Reports & Grants page. In the summer of 2016 the members and Board of Directors voted to change our name to Midwest Elderberry Cooperative due to expanded membership operations in Iowa and Wisconsin.

Until relatively modern times, elderberry flowers and berries were mostly collected from their wild, natural setting. Small scale elderberry growers have existed for centuries. They used elderberries in a wide variety of traditional products for local consumption. The Internet makes it easy to search out the ancient and modern uses of elderberry plant parts and fruits around the world.

Historically, very few farmers have grown elderberries as a commercial crop. This is changing due to growing consumer demand and shrinking imported supply. River Hills Harvest has selected varieties from nature that yield larger and sweeter berries while possessing growth characteristics more suited to commercial cultivation.

MEC are committed to enhanced farmer profitability through economies of scale and by managing the supply of regionally produced elderberry products to meet the growing consumer demand. Our goal is to provide easier market access for our increasing number of grower members. Eventually, we expect to facilitate sales to many wholesale buyers of berry and flower ingredients, such as to River Hills Elderberry Producers. River Hills Harvest produces and distributes elderberry products for both the retail and wholesale markets.

Beginning in January 2014,  MEC actively recruited growers through their educational outreach on the Internet, at conferences and with hands-on workshops. We help new and existing elderberry growers improve cultivation and harvest efficiency through coordinated university research projects, various government programs and/or private initiatives. An overview of membership categories, benefits and how to become a member of the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative is summarized on our Membership page.

To help maintain this web site and advance the mission of the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative, you may use the PayPal button below to provide financial support without any tax deduction. While we are a non-profit growers’ cooperative, we are not classified as a federal or state charity. 

How to help support this web site.


Updated 1/17/2016



© Midwest Elderberry Cooperative 2016